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Karen Handel Resigns From Komen

Says she supported cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood

Stephanie Butnick
February 07, 2012

It looks like this morning’s question, why hasn’t anyone resigned from the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, has been answered: Karen Handel, vice president for public policy has announced her resignation from the organization. Handel, a Republican who ran for governor in Georgia in 2012, says she supported Komen cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood—a move that was quickly reversed by the organization.

From Handel’s resignation letter:

I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in the matter and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen’s future and the women we serve. However, the decision to update our granting model was made before I joined Komen, and the controversy related to Planned Parenthood has long been a concern to the organization. Neither the decision nor the changes themselves were based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology. Rather, both were based on Komen’s mission and how to better serve women, as well as a realization of the need to distance Komen from controversy. I believe that Komen, like any other nonprofit organization, has the right and the responsibility to set criteria and highest standards for how and to whom it grants.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.